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Trickle Me Down

December 8th, 2010

Do tax cuts for the rich help me?

When it comes to taxation, I’m no hard leftist. But I’m also resistant to the Right’s slippery tax-cutting slope.

I sent this chart to my brother (courtesy the WaPo’s Ezra Klein) to point out the respective Democratic and Republican tax plans.

As any child can see, the Republican plan puts millions in the pockets of the richest few. Now, since those same richest few also earn the most, the chart is not exactly a scandal, but it is a nice visual. As for its budgetary implications, the WaPo reported that households earning more than $1million annually would, under the GOP plan, retain $31 million. Overall, the extended tax cuts to the richest 2 percent of America will add $36 billion to the national budget deficit.

My brother is unswayed.

As I told you before, the way to get more money in the middle class’ pocket is to do precisely what the GOP recommends. Those at the top will now hire more, spend more, and create more economic activity that will create jobs and more opportunity for the middle class.  You just don’t get it.


Silly me! How could I forget that the rich will save us all. I get it, bro, classic trickle-down economics, which, depending on who you ask, is either an absolute truth (if you ask rich people) or a myth perpetrated by the rich to help them stay rich (if you ask people who don’t like rich people).

History is unclear on this topic. Tax cuts under Reagan coincided with the start of decades of sustained growth. But twenty years later, even deeper tax cuts under George Bush II helped prop up what turned out to be the illusion of a boom while middle class wages stagnated and the nation reached historic levels of income inequality.

Oops. I said it. Whatever you do, do NOT say “income inequality” to my brother.

Stop whining and resenting those who make more and try to remember that when you go looking for a job, a successful employer with more money in his pocket is more likely to want to hire a punk like you than one who is being squeezed for more of his money from a corrupt, big incompetent government.

The thing about his philosophy is, and I mean this, if you say it over and over and over and over and over again, it eventually starts to sound true.